“the whispering woman in red…”

this is a shot of the section of newport’s cliffwalk, where i once heard, and later experienced, the myth of ‘the whispering woman in red’…

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as i was told, many decades ago a beautiful woman with long black hair, deeply troubled and of narragansett indian origin, stabbed her wealthy husband, for reasons unknown, in the penthouse suite of the viking hotel on historic and decadent bellevue avenue in newport, ri.

apparently, after stabbing him, she fled the hotel in bare feet and a red housedress and ran as fast and far as she physically could, leading her in what must have been truly chaotic desperation, to of all places the beating, turbulent cliffwalk, bordering nothing more than ocean and horizon…

where centuries before, so many forgotten indian woman, much like herself, women who were sterile or infirm, or even somehow simply unwell, would choose to ritualistically hurl themselves in a form of noble self sacrifice into the rising, thunderous surf to their certain deaths…

she, too, this woman with black hair wild in the coastal winds, climbed these very stone steps, so cracked and eroded from an unforgiving and neverending tide….and she closed her heavy eyes and fell, down into the deep white foaming surges of cold black atlantic; her body, probably endlessly battered and twisted by rock and swell was never found, but somehow, her whispering spirit still holds on to the rocky cliffs, forever chipping itself away, little by little, indecipherable and indistinguishable but impossible to miss, into the void and veil of time and space and memory itself…

strangely, her husband actually is said to have survived the stabbing…but…years later, he was, one early morning, seen frantically racing down that very same stretch of old bellevue avenue in an expensive, european motorcar, to which he is said to have suddenly swerved to avoid something, apparently, according to witnesses, only he could see; as observes stated that they saw absolutely no reason for him to have swerved at all…

he slammed into a stone gate and his vehicle nearly exploded in a fireball seen for miles…

he perished in flames, screaming and writhing in panic and astonishment, joining his wife in the ironic elemental abyss of mysterious death.

one dies in water, the other in flames…

such symbolic currency is the very alchemy of the supernatural, and thus is born a legend of a whispering woman, a lost soul with long windswept black hair, in a red dress, whispering a final resolve into a forgetting wind, falling over and over again, forever caught in the loop of her own chosen demise…

i, too, years ago, once heard the whisper there, impossible to decipher but unmistakeable in its tone…

the sound rose and fell, the voice of her spirit, from nowhere to everywhere and back again, and the thrill and melancholy of its allure wrestled its way down my spine as only true collision or collaboration with the void and the veil can offer, if you are open to its unmistakeable call…

so this is for the whispering woman…

“everyone can see, yet no one ever knows…”

xo.

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